Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday to Monday: Exiting the door.

I apologize for the lack of posting in the last few days. I have been emotionally and physically exhausted. Leaving Polička turned out to be every bit as difficult as I imagined it to be, but I survived and I know the friends I’m leaving behind will as well. During the camp on Friday, we talked about exits—leaving and what it is like to move on to another culture. We sang Pharaoh, Pharaoh, as we learned about how Moses took the Hebrew people out of Egypt. I was invited as the guest for the day and it was an incredible way to say goodbye to my students and answer any last minute questions they had. The camp came to a close with farewells and exchanges of emails, but the fun didn’t end there.

Starting in the afternoon, we had our annual garden party. This year turned out to be a bit different from the rest. It began in a similar way, with the men huddled around the roasting pig, and our performers making last minute preparations. Our Band had equipment set up outside for the performance and some of our volunteers were prepared to dance on the bare ground. We got through the first few musical performances and the first two rounds of meat, when the rain began to fall. We all headed into the church for shelter and continued the rest of the party inside the church. So, yes, food and drinks inside the sanctuary with some kind of program which definitely didn’t feel like the normal activity in our place of worship. In fact a lot of it felt like chaos to me. Maybe it’s because I’m used to programs inside the sanctuary having a focus and following a formal flow of events, and this was everything but that. Amazingly enough, however, after dancing energizers and singing silly songs, by the end of the night we were all sitting in the sanctuary together having a time of community, focused on friendship and love. So the question could still stand if it turned out to be a worship of some sorts, as we recognized the ways we have been connected over the years through the love of God. If you want to see some pictures of Friday’s party and some videos of Jacque and me singing, check out this link to our area paper: SvitavskyDenik. There are two choices: to view photos or video, and you can select the pictures or use the arrows.

On Saturday we visited some caves and then some vineyards in Moravia (Southeastern Czech Republic). More fun times to strengthen our bonds of friendship. Sunday provided more time for saying Goodbye, as we had our closing worship. This year, I feel like I wasn’t surprised to see so many volunteers attending the worship, because they had been attending our devotionals all week. We all know the same worship songs now, and I think they have a better idea of what it means to meet with friends and talk about God. In previous years, I felt like Sunday was kind of like the final party, but this time, I also felt like it was just the continuation of the party that had started 8 days before, when we met in the same room to get to know one another.

The community we experienced this week again makes me so excited that we have these camps. Everyday we came together, as brothers and sisters and grew in our relationships with each other, and some in their relationships with God. We have always been very careful not to speak about Jesus(aka evangelize) during class time of the camp, because we feel like this is backhanded and deceitful by “tricking” them into showing up for a bible study. So this year we had a special time for reflection and discussion about Jesus and God, and people came. More than just coming out of curiosity, they came every day of the week.

I want to take this space to thank all of you for following along this week and these past two years our ministry on this website. I will be still posting from time to time on this website, but as of next month Jeremy and Jamie will be making new posts about their coming activities and classes with the kids. Leaving would be so difficult for me, if I didn’t know Jeremy and Jamie would be continuing my work. This week we’ve been fortunate enough to spend lots of time with each other, and I feel so great about passing my work on to these talented individuals. They’re already speaking a good bit of Czech and learning how to communicate, plus that have so many great ideas for this year. I’m going to miss Policka, but I really can’t wait to see what they have in store for this community. So thank you, I’ve had a blast sharing my experiences with you and I hope you enjoy hearing about the continuation of this ministry with Jeremy and Jamie.

No comments: